ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, LA (WVUE) - An abused child's grandmother and aunt are awaiting trial after police found the child malnourished with burns and fractured bones.
According to the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office, 42-year-old Davana Tripps and 26-year-old Kerrian Clofer were arrested on charges of cruelty to a juvenile and kidnapping after allegedly keeping a child away from her biological mother and allegedly abusing the child.
The investigation began on May 7 when the child's mother reported that since the incarceration of the child's father, Kerry Clofer, in 2014 the child had been in the custody of her grandmother, Tripps, and aunt, Kerrian Clofer. Kerry Clofer was given sole custody of the child prior to his arrest, but an appeals court vacated the decision and gave custody to the child's mother in June 2014.
According to police, Tripps and Kerrian Clofer would not return the child to her mother, acknowledging that they knew where the child was and the potential criminal charges involved for keeping the child from her legal guardian.
Local authorities found the child with help from the Louisiana State Police at Kerrian Clofer's residence on May 14. Officers took the child to a Lake Charles area hospital for treatment for injuries consistent with severe child abuse and neglect according to police. The child suffered from fractured bones, burns and organs failing due to malnutrition and starvation.
Police arrested Kerrian Clofer and booked her in Calcasieu Parish. The investigation showed that Davana Tripps severely abused the child at her home in LaPlace as well. Police arrested Tripps and booked her with aggravated second-degree battery, second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, aggravated kidnapping of a child and false imprisonment.
Police said Tripps lived with her husband and two sons in the house she abused the child in. Tripps' two sons are in good health and in state custody.